Oneness, indigeneity, and Ghanaian citizenship(s): lessons learned from teachers

Smail, Amy (2023) Oneness, indigeneity, and Ghanaian citizenship(s): lessons learned from teachers. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Redefining Ghanaian citizenship has been the impetus for the new 2019 educational reform (NaCCA/MoE, 2018). This is out of the ambition from Nana Akufo-Addo, the current President, to seek a ‘renewed mindset’ in future Ghanaians to break dependence on aid from the West and refocus onto Ghana to become self-reliant, moving their country out of poverty (GOG, 2019a:8). For this reason, the President also seeks in children a greater appreciation of their heritage for a more located, historic expression of citizenship. These words are symbolic: echoing those of the first Ghanaian President, Kwame Nkrumah (1963:132) who articulated this as ‘Oneness:’ a deep-rooted identity and unity for mobilising African solutions to African problems. The current Government deems teachers as central to this change.

This thesis explores what lessons can be learned from government primary teachers in the city of Accra, Ghana about Ghanaian citizenship, in relation to their learners. The main lesson learned was about Ghanaian citizenship(s), a vast, overlapping definition on their ethnic, national, and (Black) African consciousness, with its tensions, contradictions, and possibilities. The new curriculum and, in particular, the subject of History after its prolonged absence in schools, had begun to activate these teachers’ views. Drawing on the words of Nkrumah, teachers further spoke of ‘Oneness,’ described as a relational Indigenous ontology for seeking unity in difference, and, to sustain the liberal democratic state. Oneness was also grounded in ‘Rootedness’ for articulating indigeneity, symbiotic with how teachers located their learners in forming and negotiating the intricacies of ethnic identity and difference. Additionally, these teachers viewed Ghanaian citizenship(s) as rhetoric for re-centring mindsets back onto Ghana, to accelerate their economic development. Oneness was a symbol for national transformation. While accepting the Government’s neoliberal terms for fostering self-sufficiency in their learners, the teachers were seeking to reimagine a different trajectory for their future nation on their own Ghanaian terms. This included reclaiming the meaning of (Black) African identity and heritage. Inspired by these teachers’ words, one possible conceptual model for critical praxis around the subject of Ghanaian citizenship(s) in the urban classroom in Accra is presented.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: The PhD fieldwork was undertaken with funding from the British Association of International and Comparative Education (BAICE), granted through the Student Fieldwork Grant.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Schweisfurth, Professor Michele and Aman, Dr. Robert
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83622
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 31 May 2023 16:03
Last Modified: 31 May 2023 16:03
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83622

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